Excessive concern for skin care amid rising skin issues and pollution has led to the conceptualization of a major line of cosmetics in the 21st century ecosystem. Ingredients, for instance, have been instrumental in acknowledging aesthetics, functionality and marketing of the product. While aesthetic ingredients enhance product formulas and offer seamless customer experience, functionality ingredients that are dubbed ‘active ingredient’, propel the demand for over the counter (OTC) products.
In the U.S. alone, there are around sizeable 12,500 unique chemical ingredients approved for use in the manufacture of personal care products. Cosmetic ingredients that have major influence on the operation of functional ingredients include surfactants, colorants, conditioners, polymer and active ingredients.
Surfactants have been the most invaluable products. Apart from the cosmetics industry, surfactants are increasingly used for emulsifying, foaming, cleansing, antimicrobial effects, among others. One of the notable attributes that makes surfactant molecules stand out is that they are compatible with both water and oil. These features are expected to enhance the demand for surfactants, fueling personal care ingredients market size.
One of the major applications of surfactants is the innate creation of a semi-stable mixture of water and oil, or emulsions. Given water and oil don’t mix well, emulsifiers are added to modify the surface tension between the oil and water, thereby producing a well-mixed and homogenous product with an even texture. Emulsions are the lotions and creams which provide fruitful lipid materials to the surface of the skin and hair.
Meanwhile, the demand for preservatives in personal care ingredients industry has soared in popularity as their use in propelling shelf life and derailing the growth of microorganisms such as fungi and bacteria has surged in recent years. A few of the popular preservatives are parabens, benzyl alcohol, tetrasodium EDTA. Of late, traction for preservatives-free products have surged; however, their shorter shelf life has been a major concern.
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There have been pervasive reports about potential toxic substances present in cosmetics, including parabens, mercury and lead. When it comes to parabens, they come from parahydroxybenzoic acid (PHBA) that is naturally present in many vegetables and fruits. There have been several studies that have exhorted that parabens are metabolized, broken down and excreted innocuously from the body.
However, in the wake of soaring consumers’ demand, most companies have started manufacturing paraben-free products. In fact ‘paraben-free’, sulfate-free’, and ‘cruelty-free’ have become the latest taglines for attractive consumers toward natural cosmetics.